A Firefighter's YJ Resto Thread
I bought my current Jeep, a '94 YJ, 2.5L, manual several years ago. When I bought it, I was the third owner from what the seller knew. The original owner had done a spring over conversion and it was a decent, but not perfect job. What sold me on this YJ was a smooth running engine, smooth shifting tranny, and a tub with literally no rust. Some battle wounds, but no rust. This is the photo in the Craigslist ad when I first saw it.
It was during the 2 hour trek home that I discovered the effect a 2.5L engine, 35" tires, and 4.10 gears have on interstate driving. IT SUCKED!!! Luckily, I made it home without blowing up the engine or shredding 4th gear. The first thing I did was trash the soft top that a step away from tearing everywhere I looked. I stripped the interior (which had spotless paint throughout) and rhino lined it with a little supervision from my then 3 year old daughter) and good friend & fellow JF member "FirefighterJeep." That's his black '95 before it grew up a year or two ago. :D
After mounting everything back up, she was ready to go.....
Between then and now, I got several things done. Most consisted of taking off crap that I didn't want. I got rid of the ridiculous looking hoop mounted to the front bull bar, the piece of crap hitch on the rear, the bent beyond recognition bumperettes, etc. I also did some other little things like replacing all the bushings on the front end and springs all around with polyurethane. I also at one point replaced the slowly inverting rear springs with FirefighterJeep's rear springs when we put his lift on. Did a short write-up on cleaning up the tail gate here:
If you notice my last post in that thread, it didn't work out as well as planned after a couple of freeze/thaw cycles that winter, so I will address that after taking care of my current project, a frame off resto of sorts. This winter I decided it was time to get some of the bigger things done that I had been putting off for a while.
Time to start removing the tub. (sorry, couple of phone pics here. Forgot the camera)
Thanks to the almighty Mean Max's write up on prepping the tub for removal, I didn't twist a single captive nut. Several weeks before doing this, I drilled a very small hole above each mounting point and hit them with PB Blaster several times a week. Well worth the time.
Despite the extra weight, I decided to leave the rollbar in. In my mind, I thought it may help maintain the structural integrity of the tub and maybe help keep it from distorting. We'll see if it helped any when it goes back on.
With the help of FirefighterJeep and his engine hoist, we got it off and moved to an indestructable steel and mobile work bench.
It sits very well there and isn't going anywhere. We added a full 8 foot sheet of 3/4 inch plywood to help support the tub since the bench is of course quite a bit more narrow than the tub.
Here she is tubless.
The first item of business was to get to work on the frame rot at the passenger side rear shackle mount and the fuel tank skid front crossmember. This is what I had after taking a screwdriver to the frame at the rear shackle.
...and here is my rear frame on the floor.
Time for some cutting.
FirefighterJeep got in on some cutting too.
I didn't get any pics of it, but before doing the passenger rear frame, I cut out the fuel skid front crossmember and welded in a replacement. I got the new crossmember and rear frame repair section from Autorust Technicians. I read quite a bit about them before buying and thought about making my own, but believe me, the price wasn't bad and it was well worth it. These replacement pieces are beefy and easy to work with. Their welds were very well done and solid. I finally remembered to get some pics after welding in both replacement pieces.
Here is the new crossmember. Don't bash on my welds too bad, I've only been "practicing" for a couple of years. I did have a seasoned and skilled welder buddy check them out for me and he said they were very solid and would work just fine. Whew.....got lucky. :cheers:
I thought I had some pics of the rear frame after welding in the new piece, but I guess I forgot to get those. I do have some after prime and paint, but I'll get those on here in a bit. After getting the frame and crossmember done, I did a little work on the body mount tabs. Most were in perfect shape, but a couple had a bit of cancer and the mounting holes were no longer round. I thought that might eat up the new Daystar body mounts I have waiting to go in them, so I came up with a solution. I cut some flat stock to mount to the top of the tabs and cut the appropriate sized hole. I then welded these to the top of the body mount tabs. Even though the flat stock isn't incredibly thick, I thought it would be best to have all the tabs at the same level so to speak.
This is how two of them looked before adding the flat stock.
Here is how they came out.
This is one of the good ones, but they got new plates added too, to make all the tabs uniform.
After finishing up frame issues I knew needed attention, I went through the rest and didn't find any other issues. Steering box area was good, fuel filter area was good, and the driver side rear was good to go. Time for cleaning it up and hitting it with some primer and paint. I did quite a bit of reading about all the different options for frame coating. When weighing benefit and cost, I ended up going against the popular option of a POR-15 type, or other rust converter because I wanted to strip the entire frame down to check it out. I ended up going with the Rustoleum professional grade primer and gloss black oil based enamel. We use this same combination on our steel work benches in a couple of our firehouses and it holds up very well after taking a TON of abuse. These work benches get anything from chainsaws and sledgehammers to various engine parts thrown across them and they never chip or flake. I guess I'll find out if it works as well on a Jeep frame.
Here is the passenger side frame repair after primer and paint...
While I was waiting for some parts to come in to work on my TC, I decided to clean up and prime/paint some other parts. I took a wire wheel to the battery tray, fuel filter skid, and gas tank skid.
I thought I had pics of these part painted, but again, I guess I forgot to get them. Anyway, here are the fuel skid and filter skid that I ended up mounting back a week or two later. Also put on a new fuel filter and hoses since it was much easier to do it now than when the tub is back on.
Talking about the gas tank skid, I had ordered a new pair of straps for the tank from Oconee Offroad. Great guys and I use them quite a bit. When I went to put the old hardware back on these new straps, I torqued one of the threaded ends off of the strap with little effort. Since I had already primed and painted these, I took a flap disk to the area where the threaded rod was spot welded to the strap and hit it again with a spot weld of my own. :D Here it is after painting a second time.
Also decided to go ahead and put my new BDS springs on. Ignore the D35, I have an 8.8 sitting in the garage waiting to go in once I get the tub back on. I just wanted to go ahead and get the springs on and have the frame sitting on wheels rather than on jack stands since I'd be jumping in and out of the frame while putting the SYE on. Here is how the old OEM springs matched up to the new BDS.
Here they are installed with new BDS bushings and new grade 8 hardware. I had 4" long 1/2" bolts for the shackle ends but with the added width from the passenger rear frame repair, they only had about 3/4 of the thread into the nut when torqued, so i went and picked up some 5" versions. 4.5" are evidently only available at specific fastener type vendors like Fastenal. I'll just cut them down later if it becomes an issue. I did have to mount the shackle bolts like the manufacturer did (bolt head nearest the fuel tank), but I'll change that after cutting them down if needed. These pics actually have the old hardware in there that I used until I could get to Tractor Supply to pick up the longer 1/2" bolts. Just FYI for anyone that may not know, TSC still sells their hardware based on weight rather than per piece like Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. You save a lot of money that way! :2thumbsup:
I have "BrandonYJ" boomers front and rear, but since they are zero lift, I'll have to get some 5/8 inch lift boomers if I want to use the center pins with the military wrap springs. Here she is resting on her new springs.
Keeping up with this thread, know you are uploading pictures which can take awhile but appreciate it as I'll be doing the same this summer to the 89'.
Time to get the SYE installed. I decided to go with the RR Mega short SYE. I ordered it from Oconee Offroad and got a great deal on it and it was at my door a couple of days later.
I started out by disconnecting front and rear driveshafts, shifting TC into 4L, and removing front output yoke nut and yoke. The small rubber washer behind the front yoke was trashed, so I ordered a new one for the installation.
Then I removed the rear output tail housing and output housing. Then split the case and removed the back half and oil pump. I then removed the mode fork spring, front output shaft, and drive chain.
I noticed a bigger pile of shavings on the collection magnet than I would have hoped to find, so I was careful to inspect each part for unusual wear or carnage. Luckily, there were no "large" pieces of metal to be found. The front output shaft/gear/ and splines were all in good shape. The main shaft, drive gear, synchro, mode hub, and splines were also fine. I also did not find any carnage at the input end of the case. What I did find, was a mode fork with no pads that had fairly bad signs of the mode hub spinning against it and gouging out a fair amount of metal. I am surprised I did not slip the fork off of the hub while shifting from 4wd to 2wd. Don't know if that can happen, but the fork was fitting in the hub so poorly, it sure seemed like it could have. Anyway, I ordered a new mode fork, drive chain, and washer for the front output yoke.
I didn't find any real signs of the chain slapping the interior of the housing, but was interested to see how much it had stretched. I matched the new drive chain up to the old one, link for link.
I know I left out a ton of steps, but figured anyone installing a SYE would have their own manufacturer specific instructions and there are a million threads here with step by step, so why do it again here. All anyone wants to see is the pictures anyway, right? :laugh:
After cleaning up the inside of the case, the oil screen, and checking the oil pump o-ring, I put it all back together with the new mega short parts. I will say anyone doing this swap should invest in a GOOD set of snap ring pliers. You will be glad you did. :highfive:
Before installing the drive sprocket and mode hub on the new shaft, I had to remove two cage bearings from the inside of the drive sprocket. Since it was around 0100 when this was happening, we had to make due with what we had. Using a couple of parts from my ball joint press, a piece of 2x4, and a rubber mallet, we made it happen. Oh, I forgot to say that our press was a 4 D-cell Maglite. Who knew the business end of a Maglite was the exact size needed to press the cage bearings out. This was FirefighterJeep's discovery! It worked great and the bearings were out after only a couple of encouragement whacks with a rubber mallet. :thumbsup:
Back in business, the rest of the install was pretty smooth. The new shift fork fit the way the old one should have and matched up with the mode fork just fine. Got the new shaft assembled, retaining ring back on and installed. Luckily, both the old and new shift fork rails were just over 9", so I didn't have to cut it down to work with the new housing. Pre-lubed everything and installed according to the instructions. Here they are if anyone is interested in the step by step.
Once everything was installed and the rear half of the case and new tail housing were properly sealed and torqued, both front and rear output shafts turned smooth with no play or noise from the bearings. I'm pretty happy with this product as far as installation goes. We'll see how it holds up after some punishment.
Other than some small stuff, this is where it stands today. I am going to replace the rear brake line coming down the frame because I don't care for how the PO left it improvised for the SOA. I should have new extended stainless brake lines here this Wednesday to take it from there to the axle and replace the front rubber lines as well. Also just received an 8.8 kit from East Coast Gear Supply that has new rotors, pads, e-brake pads, hard/soft brake lines and mounting tabs, and both e-brake lines for the Ford rear end. After getting the YJ rear brake line replaced, I'll get the tub back on and get to work on the 8.8 swap. I know it would be easier to do it with the tub off, but I'll have to have the weight on there before tuning in my rear pinion angle, so I might as well get the tub back on now. Hopefully the rest will get rolling in the next couple of weeks. I have a Trench Tech class the next couple of weekends, so it may slow down my progress a bit.
Thanks for reading! Ideas and advice are always welcome! :cheers2:
my frame rotted out and the shackle mount actually broke. i don't have the link i used to buy my frame caps but they were around $250 and the cost of welding them, i had to do both sides tho, nice work, someday i'll do that much work
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